Game #51 Recap: Strasburg & the K Street Shutout
Today was an awesome game for Strasburg and the Nationals. Strasburg would take the mound against the Braves and provide just what the Nationals needed after getting swept out of Miami. June 2, 2012 would be a game where everything seemed to roll the Nationals way. A big home run and excellent pitching proved to be the winning formula.
Right out of the gate, Strasburg looked like he was on his game. In the top of the 1st inning, Strasburg struck out the side for a 1-2-3 inning. These 3 strikeouts would be the first of a total of 9 K's for Strasburg, including a couple to Dan Uggla who has hit Strasburg pretty well at times. Strasburg would pitch 7 innings, give up 4 hits, strike out 9, and allow no runs to score against the Nationals.
The Braves had opportunities to score runs, but they were kept to a bare minimum. Every time there was a runner in scoring position the Nationals would find a way to wiggle out of it. in the 8th inning, Burnett would get 2 quick outs, but then give up a couple of weakly hit balls. Ultimately, a flyout to Xavier Nady would get the Nationals back into the dugout. The Braves ended up not scoring any runs throughout the day with some good defensive plays highlighted by 2 bunt attempts that resulted in classic Ryan Zimmerman plays.
It should not be overlooked that Brandon Beachy was quite good today. He walked 2 in the 1st inning, but did not actually allow a hit until the 4th inning. The Nationals were able to work the count on Beachy though, raising his pitch count and he would be pulled after pitching 6.1 innings and throwing 115 pitches, 73 of them for strikes. Beachy's final line would be 6.1 innings pitched, 3 hits, 2 runs all earned, 4 walks, and 6 strikeouts. Everything turned in the favor of the Nationals when Jesus Flores connected for a Home Run that would put the Nationals ahead 1-0.
The Nationals would later get another run on a double by Xavier Nady to put the Nationals up 2-0, allowing for some insurance toward the end of the game. At this point in the game, there was 1 out and runners on 2nd and 3rd. Unfortunately, Steve Lombardozzi was unable to lay down a good bunt to raise the score on the squeeze play. Bryce Harper would then strike out to end the inning.
The Nationals have played the Braves quite well so far this year; it is hopefully something the Nationals can continue to do through tomorrow and the remainder of the season. Tyler Clippard picked up the save today. Tyler Clippard has now picked up 4 saves since he was given the duty of finishing ballgames. Today's win also marks the Nationals 30th win of the season and holding a 1 game lead over the Marlins and Mets for 1st place in the NL East.